Maintaining equipment is essential to keeping a business running smoothly. But how can you be sure that your maintenance efforts are effective? One way to measure maintenance effectiveness is by using lubrication management. Lubrication management can help you track the condition of your equipment and identify areas where improvement is needed. In this blog post, we will discuss how lubrication management can help you measure maintenance effectiveness. 

The Importance of Lubrication Management KPIs 

Lubrication continues to be a problem for many plants today. Numerous studies have found that equipment failure is related to lubrication over 70% of the time. The use of lubrication management key performance indicators (KPIs) can greatly aid in identifying the issues that lead to failure. Additionally, the KPIs provide excellent insight into your profitability, productivity, safety, and overall maintenance effectiveness. 

How to Choose What Lubrication Program KPIs to Track 

There are so many components to a lubrication program, that it can be overwhelming to choose your KPIs. Here are a few simple steps to start you in the right direction: 

  • Examine Your Organization’s Mission – Is your lubrication program focused on improving reliability? Is the primary mission to reduce costs? Or, is it something else? Knowing this will guide your KPI decision. 
  • List your three primary goals and consider the KPIs that relate to those objectives. 
  • Identify Your Lubrication Program Stakeholders – These are the individuals or groups who would be most interested in learning about the outcomes of your KPIs and may have valuable input at this step. 
  • Outline Your Goals – The KPIs you choose should directly relate to attaining your objectives. 

Best Practices for Machinery Lubrication KPIs 

A lubrication program cannot be measured by just one KPI. Therefore, you need to have multiple KPIs to ensure that the data is meaningful and accurate. For each of your main objectives, you can choose up to six KPIs that will act as a driving force for that objective. Choosing too many may result in you getting lost in the data collection and losing sight of your goals. 

These are some best practices for the KPIs that you choose: 

  • Make sure your KPIs are appropriate and specific to what they will measure. 
  • Ideally, your KPIs will use data you already track and have available. 
  • Set a target KPI or definitive, quantifiable goal, which may be a percentage, dollar amount, etc. 
  • Implement a reporting system that allows you to compare past and present performance, benchmarks, and more. 

Recommended Lubrication Management KPIs 

High-Level KPIs 

A few high-level lubrication management KPIs will give an overview of the entire operation. These KPIs offer insight into the general health of the machinery. For example, overall asset health measures the percentage of your assets with no known problems. An additional useful KPI for lubrication management is lubrication-related failures. This KPI calculates the total number of occurrences, costs, and other details around lubrication-related equipment failure. 

Work Management KPIs 

Work management KPIs are necessary if you want to measure your routine and as-needed lubrication program task planning, scheduling, and execution. You can calculate many of these KPIs with data in your Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) or Lubrication Management Software. However, some of the most useful KPIs will require technicians to record information at specific lubrication points. These lubrication KPIs include: 

  • Lubrication Task Completion – A percentage measurement of the effectiveness of lubrication practices at the task level. To calculate, you divide the total number of lubrication tasks completed by the number of scheduled lubrication tasks, then multiply by 100. If the result is a low number, then you likely have inefficient lubrication routes, resource allocation, difficulties with equipment access, or issues with workload balancing. 
  • Lubrication Tasks Overdue – This KPI compares the number of lubrication tasks that are overdue to those that have been scheduled. If this number is high, then you should examine your lubrication program for some of the issues above. 
  • Analysis of All KPIs – Understanding how often and to what extent your team is meeting lubrication goals by analyzing both of the above KPIs. 

Lubricant Storage KPIs 

How you store and handle lubricants is a key contributor to your overall lubrication success. Lubricant stock levels and stockouts are essential lubrication inventory management KPIs. Stockouts happen when you don’t have the lubricant in stock when you need it. Because this puts your equipment in danger, stockouts are particularly crucial to monitor. 

Health, Safety, and Environmental (HSE) KPIs 

No maintenance program is complete without KPIs for HSE. And, workplace health and safety are a top priority for lubrication as well. Having KPIs for this area will help you and your team spot potential hazards before they cause an incident. Additionally, these KPIs can help you identify leaks, poor lubrication, issues with lubricant condition, and more. One such KPI is the waste oil collection rate. You can measure this as a broad indicator of the amount of lubricant used over time across several facilities or as a focused look at lubricant consumption within a particular department or section of the plant. 

Lubricant Analysis KPIs 

These KPIs can make a massive impact on the effectiveness of your lubrication program, as they monitor relevant condition indicators to ensure that the lubricant is performing as expected. However, to receive meaningful feedback you must appropriately set the thresholds and alarms for lubricant analysis data. When setting these thresholds, refer back to your mission and reliability goals. Oftentimes, people set targets based on where they are today and what they feel is attainable. But, even if you’re far from your target KPI, it is better to set thresholds that match your long-term goals. Then, it will be far easier to use lubricant analysis KPIs to determine the levels of contamination, lubricant health, and machine health at your facility. 

Lubrication Management Vital to Effective Preventive Maintenance 

Monitoring and analyzing your lubrication and reliability metrics can be a game-changer for the effectiveness of your maintenance. After all, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Adding lubrication management KPIs to your maintenance program will provide valuable insight into how important lubrication is to your plant’s reliability, safety, production, and profit. Then, you will experience far greater lubrication success by having clearly defined objectives, procedures, and metrics to support them.